Finger Shark is a Northampton-based SME that provides a writing and typing stabiliser for both adults and children. The Finger Shark was designed and produced by Chantel Walton, a mum of two children who both have hypermobility. After experiencing first-hand the struggles her two children were dealing with, Chantel decided to create a product to support them in their everyday life. Chantel wanted support to bring the Finger Shark to market as she believes passionately in aiding children and adults to carry out everyday tasks and writing without experiencing pain.

Whilst Chantel’s other passions, running a pre-school gymnastics group and being a volunteer football coach for Blisworth’s mixed under-9s, were affected by the Covid-19 outbreak, she took the opportunity to form Finger Shark during the lockdown period.

Creating a business during a worldwide pandemic had its difficulties; due to physical lockdowns and social restrictions, Chantel struggled to get the Finger Shark in front of her target markets. Chantel received support for the Finger Shark in the form of the Additional Restrictions Grant, funded through West Northamptonshire Council and administered by the University of Northampton. 

Receiving the grant had an invaluable impact on the business, Chantel was able to maintain a website to get the Finger Shark in front of a wider market and create more products to fulfil an increasing number of orders. Unlike some Covid-19 Grant processes, Chantel said the application process for the Additional Restrictions Grant “was straightforward and easy to understand”. Her adviser at the University of Northampton supported her through the process and she was delighted to learn that her application had been successful.

Having already expanded the product provision of the Finger Shark to two sizes, for children and adults, Chantel now aims to expand further. She has plans to work with retailers to offer the Finger Shark in stores, as well as making it a product that can be provided through NHS Occupational Therapy teams. The next step Chantel will be taking towards expanding is the creation of the Finger Shark plastic moulding machine.

Julie Tebbutt, Head of Support to Business at the University of Northampton, says:

“we are delighted to have been able to support Chantel during what has been an extremely challenging time for anyone wanting to start or grow their business. It is very rewarding to see how the funding has enabled such an innovative product to reach a wider audience. We wish Chantel every success and look forward to supporting her further as her business grows.”

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